Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt

Ho, ho, ho, and welcome to Ever On Word’s stop on J. Taylor Publishing’s Christmas Cracker Scavenger Hunt!

CCSH button

Who’s ready to play for some prizes?! Here’s how it works: Scattered throughout the participating blogs are an assortment of letters. From now until midnight (EST) on Monday, December 15th, visit ALL the stops, collect ALL the letters, and rearrange them to spell out the secret Christmas-related word. Once you’ve got the answer, submit your entry in this Rafflecopter. Second Grand Prize = a $10 Amazon gift card. And the First Grand Prize? A $100 Amazon gift card!

CCSH Gift Cards

The letter you’re looking for here is displayed at the end of this post. But wait! That’s not all! Each of the stops is also hosting an individual e-book giveaway! (Pretty sure one of them is an e-copy of a certain novel by yours truly. *wiggles brows*) Here’s the book up for grabs over here:

Crux by Julie Reece

She should have run. Now, she’ll have to fight. Eighteen year old Birdie may be homeless, but she’s surviving, that is until a mysterious guy throws money in the air like a crazy game show host and she grabs some with the idea she’ll be able to buy dinner that night. In that singular moment, unassuming Birdie becomes the girl in everyone’s viewfinder. Thugs want to kill her. Money-guy wants to recruit her. The very hot, very rich and very out of her league Grey Mathews wants to save her. Birdie, though, wants nothing to do with any of them until she realizes fate didn’t bring them all together. Her heritage did. Now, with only twenty-one days left, she’s got to decide whether to follow in the footsteps of those before her or risk her life for people she’s only just met.

CRUX by Julie Reece

How to enter to win a free e-copy? Comment below: What is your favorite Christmas-related story? ^^ (Book, movie, special TV episode… it’s all fair game!) I’ll draw a name from the responders at random, and shall alert the winner on Monday. Good luck to all entrants!

And now, for your scavenger hunt letter:

CCSH Letter Ornament

Off you go to collect the rest! Next stop from here: The blog of Keri Lake.

P.S. – Here are all the other stops, in case you lose your way. (No judgment; sometimes those pesky lead reindeer get the sleigh all turned around.

J.A. Belfield

Juliette Cross

Claire Gillian

Jonathan Lister

Laney McMann

Alexander Nader

J.Taylor Publishing

Julie Reece

Terri Rochenski

Anna Simpson

“Shades and Shadows” plus Journal Giveaway Winners!

Posting two pieces of business, today: A new book review (meaning a new review of a book that is also new), and the giveaway prize announcement we’ve all be waiting for (“we all” being… me plus some other people, I can only hope)! Jumping right into the action…

The Book: “Shades and Shadows: A Paranormal Anthology” edited by Terri Wagner and Jessica Shen, through Xchyler Publishing.

Genre: Paranormal Anthology.

Blurb: (Goodreads description)

In the dead of night, you sense something . . . other . . . beyond your sight, out there in the darkness. You feel a breath upon your neck, cold and clammy, fecund with mold and decay. Your hair stands on end from no random chill. The air is still. No one is there.

Travel with nine talented writers into their paranormal world, but don’t disregard that inkling that niggles somewhere in the pit of your stomach to leave the light on, to shun that dark room, and to pull the covers over your head.

Whatever you do, don’t look under the bed.

Shades and Shadows cover pic

(Amazon summary)

The Music Man (Eric White): Peter Hold must face his personal bogeyman and right a terrible wrong . . . and find the key to laying his childhood demon to rest.

China Doll (Ginger C. Mann): Kris discovers deep secrets about her family as she pays the price to repair her beloved china doll.

Split Ends (Scott William Taylor): Frank and Bets open up a whole new realm of possibility when they test the boundaries of their platonic friendship.

Child of the Underworld (Marian Rosarum): Lara escapes her mother’s bleak realm but must decide which she more craves: food for her belly or love for her soul.

Cost of Custody (R.M. Ridley): Jonathan Alvey helps estranged parents create magic to rescue their daughter from a terrible fate.

Tombstone (Scott E. Tarbet): A stubborn old farmer defies the oilmen, his family, and the odds to save his homestead from the ravages of progress.

Ghost Townies (E. Branden Hart): The ghost apocalypse send Dean and Jimbo on the run, armed with only their flashlights, their wits, and dumb luck.

Crossroads (Neve Talbot): Rob Daniels must choose the direction of his life. Can his dead brother keep him on the straight and narrow?

The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells (J. Aurel Guay): Tormented by his tragic past, this young medical resident finds the inner strength to save London from a rash of gruesome murders.

My Thoughts: I received an ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. (A fair trade, said I.) A reader who tends to favor novel-length works over short stories, I always wonder when cracking open a new anthology whether I’ll find anything among the collection that appeals to me, and how the book’s hits and misses will stack up against one another by the end. In the case of “Shades and Shadows”, my overall impression is: The hits win.

Pretty much all of the stories managed to elicit the ol’ “feels” in one part of me or another. While, as expected, some pieces didn’t grab me as others did, especial favorites included Scott E. Tarbet’s “Tombstone” (loved the old farmer’s narrative voice), R.M. Ridley’s “Cost of Custody” (a P.I. adventure that had my adrenaline going), and Neve Talbot’s “Crossroads” (which I started out thinking I’d dislike, due to the protagonist’s attitude about his family, but ended up absolutely sucked in).

Tossing in a couple more shout-outs, “Ghost Townies” was good for its intended chuckle, and just when I was thinking “The Music Man” wasn’t going to do it for me, the story cruised on past my expectations and went to a place that had me going, “Now we’re talkin’!” Meanwhile, “The Death of Dr. Marcus Wells” read like it could have been the pilot for a cool, uncanny drama on TV.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): All told, I’d say it’s worth the read, particularly if you’re craving a ghost story to be enjoyed in a few quick bites.

The anthology’s launch party is coming to Facebook on Thursday – aka, through no coincidence, Halloween. I intend to join in the celebration, congratulate the authors on their projects’ release, maybe try my luck at winning a prize or two… We’d all love to see you over there, so drop by if you get the chance!

And speaking of prizes, it’s time to announce the winners of my “Inspired” Journal Giveaway!” Listed in the order of which of the seven journals they won (1 gets Journal #One, 2 gets Journal #2, etc.), the winners are:

1 = Marissa Halvorson!

2 = Kim Matura!

3 = Laure Estep!

4 = Miranda McNeff!

5 = Aisazia!

6 = Kimberly Kay!

7 = Tyler-Rose Counts!

Huzzah to all of you! I’ll be in touch to make sure I get your shipping information so you can each receive your journal and signed “Inspired” bookmark. Thanks for playing along, and try not to explode with impatience – only a few more months ‘til the novel’s release!

“Journal” or “An Inspired Giveaway!”

Five months until the release of my debut novel through J. Taylor Publishing, “Inspired”!

Yeah, I know, it’s kind of a while to wait. So hey, to help pass the time, how about we have a little giveaway up in here? ^^

Kinda makes you want to have a copy of the anthology for your digital reading device, doesn’t it?
Kinda makes you want to have a copy of the anthology for your digital reading device, doesn’t it?

Or, what the heck. We’ll have two.

The “One More Day” e-ARC contest is closed. Congratulations to winner Eric Wilder! Continue reading for details on the ongoing “Inspired” Journal Contest!

Giveaway One: Courtesy of our friends at JTP, I’ve got an e-ARC of “One More Day” to bequeath unto one lucky somebody! Want a chance to read and review a copy of the YA anthology ahead of everybody who’s got to wait until December? Entry is simple: Just tell me you want in! From those entered, I’ll draw a name and announce/contact the winner on Saturday (Oct. 19), so you’ve got ‘til then to give me a holler. Here, I’ll pause to give you a sec to get your entry in right now.

*time freezes, “One More Day”-style*

. . .

. . .

. . .

Back already? Righteo then, moving on to Giveaway Two:

In the novel “Inspired”, one of the traits that characterizes teen protagonist Annabelle is her journaling habit – she buys them by the armload, fills them from cover to cover with story ideas, even names them. I was the same way, at her age (minus the naming part, which is strange, since I used to name almost everything else), and that phase of my life has left me with several fine, empty notebooks still awaiting someone to put pen or pencil to their pages. I’ll never get around to it, which is why I’m passing the privilege on to seven – yes, I said and meant seven – lucky winners. Take a look at the prizes up for grabs!

Journal Giveaway 01

Journal #One sports a pale green cover, soft and springy to the touch. Also spring-like is the pink flower through which a bright orange rubber ribbon keeps the book snugly closed until you’re ready to write.

Journal #Two is a shiny, psychedelic blue hardcover artfully covered (by moi) in stickers representing countries all over the world.

Journal Giveaway 02

Journal #Three is all class with an exquisitely-bordered hardback leather cover featuring a gentle magnetic clasp.

Journal #Four shares the magnetic clasp feature, meaning your pocket-sized journal will stay safely closed until you’ve gazed to your heart’s content at the bird- and flora-filled cover art suggestive of stained glass.

Journal Giveaway 03

Journal #Five models Australian chic, its cover depicting a kangaroo silhouette leaving tracks across a background of sandy waves.

Journal #Six is softback leather in sophisticated dark brown, perfect for giving your scribbles an air of timeless importance.

Journal #Seven’s hardback cover is a work of still-life art, boasting a stylish assemblage of fruit and calla lilies over a varied pastel background.

Oh, and did I mention that each and every journal will come with a signed “Inspired” bookmark? Because they will. (:

Journal Giveaway 04

So, how can you enter to win one of these seven superlative prizes? (Okay, maybe “superlative” is taking it a bit far, but come on, after that catalog of notebook pitches, I’m running out of descriptors, here!) All it will take is an answer to any or all of the following inspirational questions”:

What’s the greatest idea you ever had?

For the writers/artists out there, tell me about your muse. What does he look like? Describe her personality. How well (or badly) do the two of you get along?

Who or what do you find simply inspiring?

(And if I notice you spreading the word about the giveaway in social media places, you can bet that will up your name’s occurrence in the raffle pool, too. ;D)

Also, tell me which journal you want. List your first, second, and third choice (or heck, you can rank all seven, if you like). The order in which I draw the seven winning names at raffle’s end will determine who gets first pick. Here’s hoping as many winners as possible get one of their favorites!

You have from now until pretty much just before I announce the winners to enter, and that announcement shall go forth on Monday, October 28th. (Because nothing says “happy [two days early] birthday to me” like presents for y’all.)

So, in summary, tell me if wanna win an e-ARC of “One More Day, and answer the questions above in the comments below for a chance to win your pick of journals and an “Inspired” bookmark. And now, one final word from the inspiration behind Giveaway Two…

Inspired_Cover_Draft_Final_web

* * * * *

For a muse like Lucianíel, one story’s end is another’s beginning.

In the wake of his author’s sudden death, Luc takes ownership of her surviving creations—four fantastical characters with tales yet to be told—saving them from unwritten lives crumbling around them and giving them a second chance at a literary future.

Luc finds that chance in the unsuspecting mind of Annabelle Iole Gray, a quirky teen with her head in the clouds, nose in a book, and imagination ripe for a brilliant muse’s inspiration.

Or so he hopes.

Neither Luc nor Annabelle, however, realize all they’ve undertaken. Even with a to-write list including accounts of a shape-shifting cat creature, gentle knight-in-training, vigilante skater girl, and a mystery boy smothering in unspoken fear, the most remarkable saga created between author and muse just may turn out to be one stranger than fiction.

Their own.

“Batch 3” or “Grand Prize Day!”

This is it, guys: Time to announce the final “quantity (as of persons or things) considered as a group” of winners in my “Stone Kingdom” Launch Week Giveaway! And those three winners are… *drumroll, nail-biting suspense*…

Brittany S.!

Alyson Grauer!

And Aisazia! … and Erika Beebe!

(‘Cause I’m sleep-deprived and don’t even know what was going on while I was picking names, so whatever, we’ll have an extra winner.)

Holy cow, you three four, do you know what you’ve got coming to you?! Anything you want! That’s right – you get your pick of any 2 previous prizes offered during this giveaway! Song lyric word art, mystery illustrations, commentaries – you name it! (Full list of available prizes here.) And on top of that, one of you is getting an autographed paperback of “The Stone Kingdom”. Biggest congratulations of all go to…

Aisazia!

Hooray for you all! Contact me within the next week with the address to which I should ship the prize (unless you’ve already done so previously, in which case you’re covered), and it’s all yours!

**Note to all winners: If I don’t hear back from you within 7 days after your name is announced, I go back in the pool to pick a new victor. Prizes feel sad when no one comes to claim them. Of course, I’m sure you’ll all be far too eager to lay hands on your winnings for this defaulting rule to come into play; still, figured I’d best give you fair warning.**

So ends the Launch Week of “The Stone Kingdom (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”. (…of which people have said:

“A charming and excellent read.”

“Wry wit, clever twists, and, of course, dashing love interests.”

“Not only fun and funny, but relevant and wise.”

“A highly vivid, carefully formulated story … [Shipley] has a style all her own, and it’s lovely.”)

My sincere thanks to everyone who participated in the celebration in any way, great or small, to the fun-loving spirits who played with me during our rounds of scavenger hunting, to those who have already purchased the book, and to those who haven’t yet gotten around to it but totally plan to soon. The paperback’s available on Amazon and CreateSpace, and e-books await your Nook and/or Kindle. Once you’ve had a chance to fly through the story, I’d super appreciate it if you posted a review on the retail sites, pretty please and thank you. (:

I’d also like to take a moment to extend extra thanks to everyone who’s already posted a review or a book release spotlight on their blogs (too many to list here, though everyone who I knew about ahead of time got a place on “The Stone Kingdom”s acknowledgements page!), and to Tonja Drecker and Marissa Halvorson for granting me guest post space on their blogs this past week.

Well, I think that’s all the “i”s dotted and “t”s crossed. Time for this blog to start working its way back to normal! …after one last reminder of what this week’s been all about.

* * * * *

Stone Kingdom Cover, front

Love and prince,

Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;

For blood begins,

But naught can be put right by blood alone.

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.

The Stone Kingdom

Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

“Batch 2” or “Winners 4 Through 6, Come On Do-o-own!”

We’ve got our second “quantity (as of persons or things) considered as a group” of winners in my “Stone Kingdom” Launch Week Giveaway! Our Day Four winner is… *drumroll, nail-biting suspense*…

Steven Bourelle!

Ya-a-ay, Steven! You’ve won an autographed print of an illustration (drawn by me) of one of my favorite “Stone Kingdom” moments. Which moment is that? Not the same one that Day Three’s winner got. Apart from that, I shall tell you nothing. You’ll find out when your package arrives!

Day Five’s winner is… Aisazia!

Huzzah, Aisa! You’ve won seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom”… with Author Commentary! You shall be privy to all my top secret thoughts on my beloved second volume of the Wilderhark Tales. …And when I say “top secret”, I mean I’d be plenty happy to tell just about anybody interested in listening, but because I rarely say anything the exact same way twice, your official Author Commentary experience will be one-of-a-kind.

And last until Friday, Day Six’s winner… Miranda McNeff!

Lucky you, Miranda! You’ve won those same seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom”… with Character Commentary! Never mind my thoughts, you’ll get to listen in while MCs Rosalba and Edgwyn trade opinions on their newly-publicized adventure – another one-of-a-kind experience that I would totally envy, if I hadn’t had the privilege of transcribing their dialogue myself. (:

Congratulations to our second three winners! Contact me within the next week with the address to which I should ship the prize, and it’s all yours! Thank you so much for your participation in the launch week of “The Stone Kingdom (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”! (…of which people have said:

“A charming and excellent read.”

“Wry wit, clever twists, and, of course, dashing love interests.”

“Not only fun and funny, but relevant and wise.”

“A highly vivid, carefully formulated story … [Shipley] has a style all her own, and it’s lovely.”)

As for the rest of the world, never despair! There’s still three names left to draw on Grand Prize Day! So Facebook/Tweet/Blog about this giveaway! Buy the book on Amazon or CreateSpace, or e-books for your Nook or Kindle! Don’t forget, I’ve got a Special Launch Week Promotional Offer going on: Buy One “Stone Kingdom” Paperback, Get One “Stone Kingdom” e-book for Kindle for just 99 cents, brought to you by Amazon’s new Kindle Matchbook bundle deal! (And after you’ve had a chance to fly through the story, I’d super appreciate it if you posted a review!)

And now, it’s time for a “Stone Kingdom” Scavenger Hunt Question!

In my “Stone Kingdom”-inspired “Three Wishes Blog Blitz” scene, what does Rosalba suggest Edgwyn could fashion into dancing slippers? (This way to the scene and the answer therein.)

First person to answer correctly in the comments below gets an extra spot in the raffle pool. Good luck, you guys, and I’ll see you all here on Friday for our final batch of prize-winners! (:

* * * * *

Recap of the “Stone Kingdom” Launch Week Giveaway!

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Stone Kingdom” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf= 1 (Find “The Stone Kingdom” on Goodreads here!)

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post = 3 (Message me through my contact page here!)

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 7

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win on Day One? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the days to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

The prizes:

Day One = A signed print of the lyrics to a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom”-inspired song! (Congrats to Chelsea de la Cruz!)

Day Two = A signed print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original dual portrait of Rosalba and Edgwyn! (Congrats to Chelsea de la Cruz AND Tonja Drecker!)

Day Three = A signed mystery print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom” scene illustration! (Congrats to Emerald Barnes!)

Day Four = A different signed mystery print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom” scene illustration! (Congrats to Steven Bourelle!)

Day Five = Seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom” with author commentary! (Congrats to Aisazia!)

Day Six = Seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom” with character commentary! (Congrats to Miranda McNeff!)

Day Seven (Grand Prize Day!) = 3 Winners each get to select any 2 previous prizes, and one of the three gets a free, autographed paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom.

**Note to all winners: If I don’t hear back from you within 7 days after your name is announced, I go back in the pool to pick a new victor. Prizes feel sad when no one comes to claim them. Of course, I’m sure you’ll all be far too eager to lay hands on your winnings for this defaulting rule to come into play; still, figured I’d best give you fair warning.**

* * * * *

Stone Kingdom Cover, front

Love and prince,

Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;

For blood begins,

But naught can be put right by blood alone.

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.

The Stone Kingdom

Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

“Batch 1” or “Winning Times Three”

We’ve got our first “quantity (as of persons or things) considered as a group” of winners in my “Stone Kingdom” Launch Week Giveaway! Our Day One winner is… *drumroll, nail-biting suspense*…

Chelsea de la Cruz!

Ya-a-ay, Chelsea! You’ve won an autographed word-art print of the lyrics to an original, “Stone Kingdom”-inspired song!

Day Two’s winner is… Chelsea de la—

What? Again?? Well, that’s marvelous for her, but let’s give someone else a chance here, too. Day Two’s winner Part 2, then, is…

Tonja Drecker!

Huzzah, Chelsea and Tonja! You’ve both won an autographed print of a dual-portrait of “Stone Kingdom” main characters Princess Rosalba and Edgwyn Wyle (drawn by me)!

And last until Wednesday, Day Three’s winner… Emerald Barnes!

Lucky you, Emerald! You’ve won an autographed print of an illustration (drawn by me) of one of my favorite “Stone Kingdom” moments. Which moment is that? You’ll find out when your package arrives!

Congratulations to our first three winners! Contact me within the next week with the address to which I should ship the prize, and it’s all yours! (Unless I already know where you live. You know who you are.) Thank you so much for your participation in the launch week of “The Stone Kingdom (Book One of The Wilderhark Tales)”!

(…Of which people have said:

“A charming and excellent read.”

“Wry wit, clever twists, and, of course, dashing love interests.”

“Not only fun and funny, but relevant and wise.”

“A highly vivid, carefully formulated story … [Shipley] has a style all her own, and it’s lovely.”)

As for the rest of the world, never despair! There are still 4 days of prizes left to win! So Facebook/Tweet/Blog about this giveaway! Buy the book on Amazon or CreateSpace, or e-books for your Nook or Kindle! Don’t forget, I’ve got a Special Launch Week Promotional Offer going on: Buy One “Stone Kingdom” Paperback, Get One “Stone Kingdom”  e-book for Kindle for just 99 cents, brought to you by Amazon’s new Kindle Matchbook bundle deal! (And after you’ve had a chance to fly through the story, I’d super appreciate it if you posted a review!)

And now, it’s time for a “Stone Kingdom” Scavenger Hunt Question!

List three pieces of advice Edgwyn gives to those searching for true love. (Hint: Search for the answer in this character chat at The Flight Reflex, blog of Kimberly Kay!)

First person to answer correctly in the comments below gets an extra spot in the raffle pool. Good luck, you guys, and I’ll see you all here on Wednesday for our next batch of prize-winners! (:

* * * * *

Recap of the “Stone Kingdom” Launch Week Giveaway!

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Stone Kingdom” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf= 1 (Find “The Stone Kingdom” on Goodreads here!)

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post = 3 (Message me through my contact page here!)

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 7

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win on Day One? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the days to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

The prizes:

Day One = A signed print of the lyrics to a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom”-inspired song! (Congrats to Chelsea de la Cruz!)

Day Two = A signed print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original dual portrait of Rosalba and Edgwyn! (Congrats to Chelsea de la Cruz AND Tonja Drecker!)

Day Three = A signed mystery print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom” scene illustration! (Congrats to Emerald Barnes!)

Day Four = A different signed mystery print of a Danielle E. Shipley-original Stone Kingdom” scene illustration!

Day Five = Seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom” with author commentary!

Day Six = Seven selected chapters of “The Stone Kingdom” with character commentary!

Day Seven (Grand Prize Day!) = 3 Winners each get to select any 2 previous prizes, and one of the three gets a free, autographed paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom.

**Note to all winners: If I don’t hear back from you within 7 days after your name is announced, I go back in the pool to pick a new victor. Prizes feel sad when no one comes to claim them. Of course, I’m sure you’ll all be far too eager to lay hands on your winnings for this defaulting rule to come into play; still, figured I’d best give you fair warning.**

* * * * *

Stone Kingdom Cover, front

Love and prince,

Both true, wed rose of white in realm of stone;

For blood begins,

But naught can be put right by blood alone.

 

One thoughtless act is all it takes to bring the curse threatened on Rosalba’s christening day to pass. Now the princess must combine her desperate determination with the service of benevolent tailor Edgwyn Wyle to find the second half of the key to her kingdom’s restoration.

The Stone Kingdom

Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales

<> ~ <> ~ <>

An enchantress’s curse turns a spoiled royal into a beast;

A princess’s pricked finger places her under a hundred-year spell;

Bales of straw are spun as golden as the singing harp whisked down a giant beanstalk –

All within sight of Wilderhark, the forest that’s seen it all.

You’ve heard the stories –

of young men scaling rope-like braids to assist the tower-bound damsel;

of gorgeous gowns appearing just in time for a midnight ball;

of frog princes, and swan princes,

and princes saved from drowning by maidens of the sea.

Tales of magic. Tales of adventure. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew them as fairytales. Know them now as Wilderhark’s.

“Two” or “‘Stone Kingdom’ Giveaway Tease”

Only ONE DAY left ‘til the release of my second fairytale novella, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”! And what’s a super-exciting launch day without a mega-fantastic giveaway?!

As many of you may recall, I celebrated the launch of “The Stone Kingdom”s predecessor, “The Swan Prince”, with a weeklong extravaganza known as the Seven Swans a-Winning Giveaway. It was hecka fun, and it almost killed me. Keeping up that level of enthusiasm every day for a full week straight proved to be a bit more than I could healthfully handle. So, in the spirit of living and learning (emphasis on living), we’re going to try things just a smidge differently, this time around. But fear not! All the best parts of the giveaway will remain the same. (:

There will still be seven days to enter – Friday, September 20th (launch day!) though Thursday, September 26th. On the in-between Monday and Wednesday and the following Friday, I will announce the latest winners of the fantabulous prizes.

How to Enter

Everyone will be given oodles of chances to win those aforementioned, exclusive, custom-made (by moi!), totally-boss-sauce prizes by engaging in any or all of the following activities:

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Stone Kingdom” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf * = 1

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post ** = 3

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Stone Kingdom” = 7

* This is something you can do right now! Just let me know in the comments below that you’ve done it, and that’s one instance of your name in the prize pool already!

** You can get an early start with this one, too! Send me a message through my contact page, and we’ll settle on a date (which, by the way, does not have to be during the giveaway week, if that timeframe isn’t convenient for you; any time’s good). Provide the interview questions and/or topic you’d like me (or Rosalba or Edgwyn!) to guest blog about, I’ll type like a maniac, and wha-bam – you’re part of the “Wilderhark Tales” phenomenon. (: (And if an advance review and/or interview has already appeared on your blog, don’t worry, you’re covered. Automatic name in hat for you. ^-^)

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win the first prize? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the prizes to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

Winning what?” I’m very glad you asked.

The Prizes

#1 = Our first winner will receive an autographed print of word art, the words being the lyrics to “Both True”, an original song (composed by me) inspired by “The Stone Kingdom”.

#2 = The second winner will get an autographed print of dual portraits (drawn by me) of the book’s main characters, Princess Rosalba and Edgwyn Wyle.

#3 = Winner number three gets an autographed print of a picture (drawn by me) depicting one of my favorite moments in “The Stone Kingdom”. That’s all that I’ll tell you; just know that it’s awesome.

#4 = Another autographed print of another “Stone Kingdom” moment, also drawn by me, and also a surprise. (Oh, the mystery!)

They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”
They’re calling to you. “Win me… Wi-i-in me-e-e…”

#5 = These were a hit last launch, so I’m bringing them back. Our fifth prize will be seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom” … with author commentary! One lucky winner will get an exclusive look at what went into the making of the story, including inspiration for names, reflection on early plot/character concepts, references to movies you may or may not have seen, and more!

#6 = The most coveted prize of them all: Seven selected chapters of the “The Stone Kingdom”… with CHARACTER commentary! Pretty much any verbal exchange between Edgwyn and Rosalba is entertainment worth the price of admission, so yeah, I’m really looking forward to getting this hot little number into somebody’s hands.

And then, of course, there’s #7 = The Epic Win of the giveaway. For the raffle’s grand finale, I’ll draw three names from the hat (or the shoebox, if we’re going for absolute accuracy), and each of these three winners will have their pick of any one previous prize.

Actually, you know what? This is the giveaway for Book Two, y’all. Let’s crank this party up a notch: Each of these three winners will have their pick of any TWO previous prizes. Yes. I’m serious. Any two prizes they most desire. AND, one of those three will also be selected to receive the Grand Prize Bonus – an autographed paperback of “The Stone Kingdom.

If this is madness, I don’t want to be sane.

So, I’ll see you all back here tomorrow for the big release of “The Stone Kingdom”, yeah? Good deal. Tell your friends! (Or forever receive dirty looks from them, the pain in their eyes saying, “Why didn’t you let me in on this awesome book and giveaway? What the heck, man? I thought we were friends! It’s like I don’t even know you! #Betrayed!”)

Good Friends...Books This Good

“Wish” or “[Three Wishes Blog Blitz]”

Today I’m participating in the Three Wishes Blog Blitz, hosted by author Juliet Madison! From the 2nd to 6th of September you’ll have the chance to win some awesome prizes at all the blogs participating in the blitz, including mine. All you have to do is follow my instructions at the end of the post for winning the prize I have on offer, and then you can click over to Juliet’s blog to enter her prize draw, and see the list of all other blogs taking part and enter their giveaways as well. How cool is that?

Why is it called the Three Wishes Blog Blitz? Juliet’s new romantic comedy release, “I Dream of Johnny”, is about three wishes, a high-tech genie in a lamp, and one very unfortunate typo that proves magic isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…

In honor of the three wishes theme and my fairytale novella, “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)” (coming on September 20th!), I’ve taken a scene from the book and thrown in a major plot detour. See what happens when Princess Rosalba and tailor Edgwyn Wyle come across an unexpected bit of magic on their adventure to find Rosalba’s spell-breaking true love!

Three Wishes Blog Blitz logo

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They rode at a swift pace for the rest of the morning and well into the afternoon, away from the town, over the border of Peasequay, and into the uninhabited western hills. With no signs of civilization as far as the eye could see, Rosalba assumed they would have to keep going for some while, perhaps even until a little after dark. But to her surprise, Edgwyn slowed them to a stop early in the evening, by a stream in the middle of nowhere.

“Is there an invisible inn here of which I know naught?” she asked, bemused.

“Yes,” Edgwyn chuckled, handing her to the ground. “The only one in all the Great Land to accept nonexistent coins as payment. I’m afraid inns are not in the budget for this trip, Princess. I bartered away nearly all I had – money, wares, hat, the lot – for more necessary things.”

“Such as what?”

“Such as— oh!” Edgwyn paused rummaging within one of his sacks, his expression askew in puzzlement. “Such as this, apparently,” he said, withdrawing his hand and, held inside it, what looked to Rosalba like a short, slender, brazen teapot.

“What exactly is that?” she asked.

Edgwyn studied the object. “I’ve not glimpsed many of them, so I can’t be sure, but it looks like it may be a lamp of the sort they use in the Far Eastern Isles. I have no idea how it ended up in my bag, and there’s no time to go back to the Faire and see it returned – not if we’re to get you to Walzscoria in time.” He sighed. “Oh, well. Since we’ve got it, surprise!” He held his hand out toward her. “I got you a lamp!”

“Just what I need for the royal ball,” said Rosalba, accepting the strange gift with an ironic shake of the head. “If only you’d accidentally made off with a pair, you might have fashioned them into dancing slippers.”

Edgwyn laughed. “You’re confusing tailors with cobblers, and cobblers with coppersmiths,” he said, staking his horse’s tether to the ground so she could graze without wandering off. “Very fashion-forward thinking of you, though. Next you’ll be commissioning slippers of glass.”

“That hardly sounds— goodness!” Rosalba broke off, letting fall the lamp as violet smoke began pouring out of the spout.

While she and Edgwyn looked on with wide eyes, the smoke billowed into the air and took on the hazy shape of a human figure, its dark form crackling with lines of light like a thundercloud.

“Thrice touched, I awaken,” the smoke creature said, its voice like tinkling bells in a whirlwind. “Three wishes I grant you. Choose swiftly, for in three minutes, I go.”

“Three threes,” said Edgwyn, raising his eyebrows at Rosalba. “It doesn’t get much more portentous than that! What will you wish for, Princess?”

“Well, now, just a moment,” she said, clamping down on her surge of excitement. “Let’s think things through.” She turned to the smoke creature. “If I wished for the immediate breakage of the spell on my kingdom, what would the consequences be?”

“No more nor less than what you wished,” the creature replied.

“Then that is my first wish – the removal of the curse on Denebdeor!”

The smoke flashed brighter. “It is done.”

“Oh, thank you, thank you!” Rosalba felt she could jump or laugh or cry for joy. “Now, what of you, Edgwyn?”

Edgwyn blinked in surprise. “What of me?”

“Come, now, you must have a wish, too. You’ve been such a great help!”

The tailor’s smile was rueful. “Not nearly as great a help as I could wish.”

“You wish to be a greater help?” the smoke creature asked.

“Careful what you say, Edgwyn,” Rosalba warned. “That would be an awfully vague wish to make.”

“Well… I don’t know.” Red and flustered, Edgwyn ran a hand through his hair. “To help you save your kingdom was my greatest wish, and now that’s done. But, oh! You still haven’t found your true love!”

Rosalba waved a hand. “No matter. I don’t need him anymore.”

“Not the same sort of need, perhaps,” said Edgwyn, “but if he is meant for you, then I would that you find each other and live happily ever after. So I wish that when you return home to Denebdeor, your true love will be there.”

Another flash. “It shall be done.”

Rosalba threw up her hands in exasperation. “You were supposed to wish for something for you!”

“I don’t want anything for me.”

“Horsefeathers! What about fame as the best tailor in the world? What about having someplace to sleep other than the grass tonight? What about your own true love – wouldn’t you like to find her?”

“Those all sound like very nice things,” Edgwyn said, nodding. “The first and third things I expect I can manage on my own, with time and effort. As for the second… well, there are worse beds than grass.”

“There is also far better,” said Rosalba, voice firm. “And if you won’t be selfish enough to wish for it, then I suppose I’ll have to be selfish on your behalf.”

Edgwyn cocked his head. “I’m not sure selfishness works that way.”

“Watch and learn,” Rosalba retorted. “I wish for you to be transported straightaway to my castle, where you shall be treated as an honored guest by my freshly disenchanted parents, with all the luxury our home has to offer, and you will enjoy yourself, Edgwyn Wyle, whether you like it or not!”

“It is done,” said the smoke creature, and with a final flash, it disappeared – and Edgwyn with it.

“Well, that’s that,” Rosalba said. She sighed. “‘That’ being what happens when you make a wish without thinking things through.”

The princess bent down to scoop up the lamp and turned to Edgwyn’s horse, who had been a remarkably calm spectator of the whole bizarre affair. “It looks like it’s just you and me for the night, Minnie. …and for however many days it takes to make it back to Denebdeor. I hope you remember the way,” she said, dropping her head into her hand, “or I’ll have just wished away the only one of us who did.”

The horse nickered and bumped Rosalba’s shoulder with her nose.

“I’ll try to take that as a reassurance,” she said, giving the horse a pat. In the next moment, she brightened. “At the very least, when I finally get there, my parents will be awaiting me – not to mention Edgwyn and my true love, whoever he’ll turn out to be! I wish… Well, never mind more wishes. I think we’ve had magic enough to last us the next hundred years, don’t you?”

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Know what I wish? That you’d enter my Three Wishes Blog Blitz giveaway! You may wish to, as well, since the delightful prizes are as follows:

One set of three signed “Stone Kingdom” bookmarks, as drawn by the lovely Yana Naumova!

One print of side-by-side portraits of Princess Rosalba and Edgwyn Wyle, as drawn by me!

One automatic entry into the raffle which shall accompany the launch of “The Stone Kingdom” on September 20th – meaning you’ll be eligible to win even more awesome stuff, including a signed paperback copy of the book!

Three sweet prizes for one lucky winner. Entry is easy – just leave a comment below! The raffle’s open internationally and closes to entry at 12pm (noon), Friday the 6th of September.

Once you’ve entered my giveaway, visit Juliet’s blog & enter her giveaway, too, and visit any or all of the other participating blogs to enter more prize draws. You could potentially win a whole heap of prizes! Good luck! Visit the official Blog Blitz post here.

*** FYI Edit: I’ll announce the prizewinner on Saturday, September 7th. (: ***

“Prize 1” or “Prize 2”: Who Shall Win Which?!

Freeze!

I asked you when you’d pause time, if given the power and choice, and from among those who answered, we have a randomly-drawn prize winner. And that winner is … Jamie Ayres! Congratulations, Jamie! I can’t grant you the ability to hold time immobile, but I shall give you a One More Day 2014 wall calendar and signed One More Day bookmarks! Simply contact me with the address to which you’d like your goodies sent, and off they’ll go.

But hold on there, readers – don’t unfreeze yet! There’s still a winner to announce from my 200th follower giveaway. And that winner is … Miranda McNeff! …a-a-and Kendra Conine! That’s right, two winners! Because all the rest of my followers evidently forgot to hit “post” on the doubtless marvelous comments that could have won them the prize. Whoopsies! So since I only logged in two eligible entries, what the hey, they can both get prizes. : ) Huzzah for you, Miranda and Kendra! In special thanks for being a part of my Ever On Word following, you shall each receive a signed word art print of my brand new “The Swan Prince”-related flash fiction piece entitled “Day Broken”.

As for all my lovely followers who didn’t win this time around, take heart: You may not get the print, but you’ll still get the story! In your honor, my 200+ friends, I give you the 200-word double drabble, “Day Broken”.

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KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

Sunrise.

Sigmund dragged himself from water to land, shivering from the chill autumn air on his wet skin, and from remembrance of recent pain. Birds twittered above him, darting to and fro amongst the forest’s trees. No time to linger and envy them their carefree lives; it was hurry or be missed.

His long legs carried him, sure and silent, out of the woods and into the homely castle on a hill. No true castle, he thought with disdain. Home not to royalty, but common children, none with even a parent to their name. How had he come to this?

He slipped into his room shared with rows of softly snoring others, shed and secreted the clothes still damp from the lake, and lay down to pretend that his bed had been slept in – a quick act before the day’s performance to come, his the role of a boy who belonged in this lowly village setting.

With a sigh drawn from his very heart, Sigmund closed his eyes, awake but dreaming: Of tall towers over silvery waters, and a sunrise without pain. Of selfness, and freedom. Of the life he was born to live, and cursed to lose. For now.

“Grand” or “Giveaway Tease, Part 3”

Only one more day until the release of my fairytale novella, “The Swan Prince (Book One of the Wilderhark Tales)”!!! And we’re going to celebrate with a week-long extravaganza!

Starting on launch day (TOMORROW, May 31st), I’m hosting a big ol’ raffle-type giveaway here on the Ever On Word blog. I call it “Seven Swans a-Winning”. (What can I say? “The 12 Days of Christmas” is one of my all-time favorite carols.)

Everyone will be given oodles of chances to win exclusive, custom-made (by moi!), totally-boss-sauce prizes – a different winner every day for seven days straight! – by engaging in any or all of the following activities:

[Action] = [Chances to Win]

Every mention/link to the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, or blog = 1

An addition of “The Swan Prince” to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf * = 1

Schedule a day with me to host me on your blog for an author interview, character interview, or guest post ** = 3

Every purchase of an e-book copy of “The Swan Prince” = 3

Every purchase of a paperback copy of “The Swan Prince” = 7

* This is something you can do right now! Just let me know in the comments below that you’ve done it, and that’s one instance of your name in the prize pool already!

** You can get an early start with this one, too! Send me a message through my contact page, and we’ll settle on a date (which, by the way, does not have to be during the giveaway week, if that timeframe isn’t convenient for you). Provide the interview questions and/or topic you’d like me to guest blog about, I’ll type like a maniac, and wha-bam – you’re part of the “Wilderhark Tales” phenomenon. (: (And if an advance review and/or interview has already appeared on your blog, don’t worry, you’re covered. Automatic name in hat for you. ^-^)

Your chances to win will accumulate over the seven days of the giveaway (didn’t win on Day One? You’ve still got your rollover entries for the days to come, and you can continue earning more), so the sooner you jump on board, the better your odds of winning!

To recap the prizes for Days One through Six of the giveaway:

Day One = A signed print of “Swan Prince”-related flash fiction word art!

Day Two = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Sigmund drawings!

Day Three = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Sula drawings!

Day Four = A signed print of two Danielle E. Shipley-original Villem drawnings!

Day Five = Seven selected chapters of “The Swan Prince” with author commentary!

Day Six = Seven selected chapters of “The Swan Prince” with character commentary!

How in the world could I top any of that for Day Seven? This calls for a “higher in rank or importance” prize. It’s time to go all out.

This, with my name scrawled in it.
This, with my name scrawled in it.

On Day Seven, we’ll have three winners.

Yes. I totally typed it, and I totally mean it. Three winners, one day.

And each of these three winners will have their pick of any one of the previous prizes.

AND, one of those three – selected at random, just like I’ll have been selecting winners all along – will also get (ready for more one more instance of emboldened font?) a free, autographed paperback copy of “The Swan Prince.

How’s that for a grand prize?! 😀

It all starts tomorrow, people. May 31st. Release day for “The Swan Prince”.

Let’s blow the roof off this thing, what say?

And speaking of princes and release days… there’s a blog fest going on in celebration of author Rachel Morgan’s new book, THE FAERIE PRINCE (second novel in the Creepy Hollow series), which releases today! (More details on that at the end of this post.)

Faerie Prince blog fest button

How’s the fest work? Easy breezy: Any day between today and June 2nd (although today, as “The Faerie Prince”s release day, is best), display the snazzy button, join up on the list o’ links, and tell everyone who your favorite fairy tale prince/hero is and why.

No way I’m missing out on that action!

Frog Princess Cover

There are a heck-ton of beloved princes I could name (Aladdin! Allyn-a-Dale! Jonathan, son of Saul!), but I’m going to go with one of the first literary princes I ever truly adored, Prince Eadric from E.D. Baker’s “The Frog Princess.

He’s cute, funny, a sweet and supportive friend/more-than-friend to the heroine of the series, and I’m pretty sure he played a part in inspiring my favorite prince I ever wrote (coming not-nearly-soon-enough-to-suit-me to “The Wilderhark Tales”). So here’s to you, Eadric, and to all the awesome princes out there!

Check out the info below for more on Rachel Morgan’s newly-released book. And come back here tomorrow for the grand release of “THE SWAN PRINCE”!!!

* * *

It’s release day for The Faerie Prince, the second novel in the Creepy Hollow series! Woohoo! If you’re keen to read it, you can find it at the following places online:

Guardian trainee Violet
Fairdale is just weeks away from one of the most important occasions of
her life: graduation. After messing up big time by bringing a human
into the fae realm, Vi needs to step up her game and forget about Nate
if she hopes to graduate as the top guardian of her year. Everything
would be fine if she wasn’t forced to partner with Ryn, her ex-friend,
ex-enemy, current ‘sort of friend’. They might be trying to patch up
their relationship, but does she really want to spend a week undercover
with him for their final assignment? On top of that, the possibly insane
Unseelie Prince is still on the loose, free to ‘collect’ as many
specially talented faeries as he can find—and Vi is still at the top of
his list. Add in faerie queens, enchanted storms, complicated
not-just-friends feelings, and a murder within the Guild itself, and
graduation is about to become the least of Vi’s problems.

In celebration, The Faerie Guardian is on sale for a limited time!
**GIVEAWAY**

There will be a giveaway running from now until the end of the blog tour (Sun 9 June). A giveaway where FOUR people could win something! The prizes are a signed copy of The Faerie Prince (or The Faerie Guardian, should the winner prefer that), an Amazon gift card, a mini book pendant and necklace, and a Creepy Hollow pin badge. Check out the pic below!

Giveaway is open internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway